It hasn’t taken long for the rumors to fly about Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving. And they point to the argument that he isn’t a great leader in the locker room. Through 14 games of the young NBA season, the Nets have compiled a 6-8 record with some NBA experts beginning to point the finger at Irving for the slow start.
Whether those rumors are true or not, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith addressed them on First Take on Thursday.
“I am not hearing good things about Kyrie in Brooklyn.”
Nets Teammate Denies Chatter About Kyrie Irving
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Irving’s teammate, Jarrett Allen, shot down the notion that he has been a bad influence on the Nets this season.
“He acts like a normal teammate. People say that he has mood swings, but that’s a complete lie. He wants to see us succeed and do well, if anything,” said Allen.
So, what’s the difference between playing with Irving and former Nets guard D’Angelo Russell? Allen offered some insight.
“They’re kind of different. Kyrie can score from anywhere, even without me setting up the pick-and-roll. DLo…we worked well; if he didn’t score, he’d kick it to me to score,” Allen said.
Are the Rumors Surrounding Irving a Part of a Hidden Agenda?
After it was reported that Irving has an attitude problem on First Take, Heavy.com’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson reported he spoke with someone in the guard’s circle about the report.
According to Robinson, they replied, “Who cares that Kyrie has an attitude? Sounds like an agenda.”
Robinson recently revealed the details of Irving and Kevin Durant vacationing last summer where the two discussed teaming up in Brooklyn.
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Kendrick Perkins Thinks Kyrie Isn’t Strong Mentally
Irving’s former teammate Kendrick Perkins was on recently a guest on the Dale & Keefe show and shared Irving isn’t strong mentally.
“He’s showing us who he is. This is Kyrie Irving,” Perkins said recently on Dale & Keefe show. “Think about this: two weeks before he has to return to Boston, he’s injured. Right? Sounds like a set-up plan to me. Like, ‘Oh, nah, I ain’t playing in this game.’ It was probably pre-rehearsed from the jump. He didn’t want to come back and face this. We’re looking at a guy that’s mentally — he’s not strong, mentally. And he’s proven it. He’s not strong. No matter how much he tries to have this Kobe Bryant mentality and all of this, he’s not like (that).”
This is not the first time Perkins has taken shots at his former teammate. Back in June as a guest on FS1’s Fair Game with Kristine Leahy, Perkins was asked which team he thought Irving would sign with this summer. Perkins offered a strong and direct response.
“I really don’t care. I really don’t care who Kyrie signs with,” Perkins said. “Not at all (an Irving fan). He really disappointed me, the way he represented the Celtics this year, so I’d rather not even speak on it. I don’t care who he signs with.”
Perkins would tweet after the interview with Leahy that he lost all respect for Irving.
Perkins and Irving were teammates during the 2015 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers before Irving was traded to Boston in exchange for a future first-round pick, Isaiah Thomas, Ante Zizic and Jae Crowder in 2017.
As for Irving, he is averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game this season with the Brooklyn Nets. He is also currently out with a shoulder injury and appears likely to miss the Nets vs. Celtics game, per Dakota Randall of NESN.com.